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Canada invests in prebiotic technology

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is investing $10 million to help B.C.’s Vitalus commercialize its value-added prebiotic


The Canadian government has invested $10 million in Abbotsford, B.C.-based Vitalus Nutrition Inc.’s efforts to commercialize a value-added prebiotic.

Vitalus, which supplies customized dairy ingredients to the food, beverage and nutraceutical industries, has developed a proprietary technology to produce a prebiotic from milk permeate, a milk by-product.

According to a government press release, this prebiotic can be used in infant formulations and other foods to enhance their nutritional characteristics, including dairy products and beverages, fruit drinks, and fruit preparations. Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates, a type of fibre, that act as food for probiotics (the “good” microorganisms that support healthy digestion and offer protection from harmful bacteria).

Commercializing this new ingredient is expected to help the dairy industry transform a currently unused by-product into a value-added functional food product. This will likely have spillover effects, such as helping grow the middle class by creating new economic opportunities in the food processing sector, according to the government.

“This investment is a great example of government working with industry to introduce new food products that support the health of Canadians and that increase the competitiveness of Canada’s agriculture sector. This innovative technology will help the industry stay on the cutting edge and capture new markets for dairy ingredients here in Canada and around the world,” says Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

“Vitalus is about improving lives by unlocking the nutritional value of milk. We get excited about innovation and new value-added opportunities. The financial support of the government has been key in the development of VITAGOS,” says Philip Vanderpol, president, Vitalus Nutrition Inc.

This investment is being made through the Growing Forward 2 AgriInnovation Program.


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